Common App Changes 2021-22

By IvyWise on Friday, March 26, 2021

The 2021-22 Common App Changes You Need to Know About

As the most widely used college application system in the United States, the Common Application is likely already on many students’ radars. However, some future applicants may be less aware of the changes being made to the Common App for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle.

From a new question on gender to additional essay prompts, there are several developments that upcoming applicants need to know about. Keep reading to learn more about the changes students can expect to see when completing the 2021-2022 Common App.

New Questions About Gender

The Common Application recently announced a series of changes, which are being enacted to make the application more inclusive for transgender applicants. The application will now include optional questions in which a student can share their preferred first name and their preferred pronouns. The wording of a question will also change “sex” to “legal sex” to reduce student confusion. These changes are all designed to avoid making certain applicants feel excluded and build on the creation of a text box where students can voluntarily explain their gender, which was included in the 2016 Common App.

Changes to the Personal Statement Prompts

For nearly five years, the personal statement prompts for the Common Application have stayed the same. That changed earlier this year when the Common Application announced the introduction of a new essay prompt:

Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?

This replaces the previous prompt, “Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma – anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.”

2021-2022 will mark the first admissions cycle with this new essay prompt. The remaining six personal statement prompts will remain the same, giving applicants plenty of options to consider when it comes time to craft their personal statements.

The Common Application announced the personal statement prompts for the 2021-22 academic year in February, marking the first time this decision was publicized so early. This means that current juniors can get started even earlier on their college applications, especially with the availability of account rollover. Since getting a jumpstart on college applications can help students reduce admissions-related stress, this early announcement is likely a welcome change for many future applicants. Current juniors should keep all of their upcoming college admissions tasks on their radar, including test preparation and extracurricular activities, in addition to working on the Common Application.

Changes to Citizen Questions

After working with a group of Common App members and policy representatives, the Common Application has made a few changes to some of their background questions. This includes replacing the Citizenship response “Other (non-US)” with separate options for international students and undocumented/DACA students, removing or making Geography questions optional, removing parent and sibling questions, and making questions related to parent occupation and education optional. These changes will apply to both first-year applicants as well as transfer students.

The college admissions process is always changing and evolving, which is why it is so important for students to stay on top of the latest college news. If you’re looking to learn more about the admissions process, our team of college experts can provide guidance throughout every step of the process. Contact us today to learn more!

Related Topics
College Application Tips, Common App
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